Cabernet & Chocolate - a rich relationship…

Posted by Kerri on May 27 2013 in: Wine Education

G’day folks...
I was plunging my new 2013 Churinga Vineyard Cabernet ferment today and was intoxicated by the intense perfume as all of the purple froth bubbled over the skins. Have you ever used the term chocolate as a wine descriptor? I could smell chocolate and taste it as well. As it turns out cabernet sauvignon and chocolate are inextricably linked.
After further investigation, and thanks to Tim White (Australian Financial Review) and Harold McGee (McGee on Food & Cooking) I’m now dripping with chocolate info.


Did you know that chocolate, or at least the cacao bean goes through a fermentation process? As I was reading I was transported back to my university Roseworthy days in one of my wine lectures. I was reading about fermentation, rich and complex flavours, astringent phenolics and anthocyanin pigments (which incidentally, give wine their textural qualities and colour respectively), lactic acid bacteria, acetic acid and pyrazines. Now after I relaxed and realised I didn’t need to hand in homework - I refocussed on pyrazines. Simply put, pyrazines are the compounds that give the Sauvignon family their spicy herbal notes. If chocolate contains pyrazines and so does my Cabernet, then there’s little wonder that I’m using them together when describing my new ferment.
The Clare Valley has a rich history with Cabernet Sauvignon and in fact some of the great old wines I’ve enjoyed over the years were lovely mature Cabernet from producers such as Wendouree, Mitchell's, Skillogalee and the old Leasingham Bin range wines. Their structural tannin backbone make them long lived in the cellar. Cabernet is also celebrated in other famous wine growing regions around the world like the Napa Valley in California, Bolgheri of Tuscany and of course the left bank of Bordeaux are considered some of the most noble of all. Closer to home we celebrate the great Margaret River and Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon. The best of our beloved Clare Valley are certainly in good company.
I’m excited to say that my Churinga Vineyard Cabernet is enjoying some strong support and is now being poured in some great restaurants around the country. Keep an eye out at Press* Food & Wine & The Victory Hotel in SA, MoVida & Casa Ciuccio in Vic and in NSW head to Otto, Rockpool Bar & Grill and Aria. During my recent pre harvest trip to Tasmania I was lucky enough to enjoy a wonderfully hearty T bone at the Black Cow Bistro in Launceston. I’m happy to say that you too can now do the same partnered with my Cabernet when you’re there.
So during Easter time, when you’re thinking of Easter eggs, also think of Easter reds and how Cabernet descriptors really are perfect for this time of year. It’s chocolate for adults...
Happy Easter all..
Cheers, KT x